The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) and IMA Education Foundation have announced their 2019 legislative agenda, which aims at providing incentives to grow Illinois manufacturing businesses and help manufacturers address the increasing skills gap across the state.
“Manufacturing contributes the single largest share of Illinois’ economy and provides more than 90 percent of our state’s exports. However, one of the greatest challenges facing manufacturers in Illinois is the need for qualified workers,” said Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “With nearly 300,000 workers set to retire in the next decade, Illinois manufacturers will need to find nearly 20,000 production workers and 3,000 engineers annually to remain level. In addition, the state of Illinois needs to invest in and nourish the manufacturing sector that employs 580,000 women and men to attract new business opportunities and keep manufacturers from leaving the state. It’s an immense challenge and the IMA along with our Education Foundation is proud to be leading a statewide effort to meet it head on.”
2019 Legislative Priorities
- Grow Your Own STEM Teacher Act (SB 1930): Public colleges and universities will waive tuition and fees for students studying science, technology, engineering or math who agree to teach in Illinois at a public high school or university. An assessment of schools and universities found a lack of teachers is contributing to a lack of STEM education programs.
- Support Apprenticeships (SB 216): Illinois manufacturers are helping develop their own workforce through apprenticeship programs. The IMA is leading the state’s Industry Consortium for Advanced Technical Training (ICATT), the leading apprenticeship program in the Midwest for high-tech manufacturers and companies with complex technologies or logistics. This legislation will provide a small tax credit equal to qualified education expenses for apprentices.
- Research &Development Credit (HB 3411/SB 1905): Research and development is the lifeblood of manufacturers that are constantly creating and improving products. However, Illinois’ research and development tax credit has turned on and off five times in the last two decades, creating uncertainty. Illinois needs to modernize and make permanent the research and development tax credit that is essential for the manufacturing sector.
- Manufacturer’s Purchase Credit (HB 2300/SB 1390): The Manufacturer’s Purchase Credit was left to expire two years ago during the budget impasse. Most other states provide incentives for tangible property used or consumed in the manufacturing process and Illinois needs to renew this credit.
- Small Business Regulatory Tax Relief (HB 3271/SB 1648): Many Illinois employers are required to pay 100 percent of their unemployment insurance taxes in the first quarter of the year, creating a cash flow concern for small employers. This legislation simply allows a small business to make payments quarterly if necessary.
- Critical Infrastructure Protection (HB 1633/SB 1304): This legislation increases penalties for individuals who trespass and intentionally damage critical infrastructure facilities, including water treatment plants, electricity generating facilities and military bases. The legislation represents a partnership between business and organized labor and protects first amendment rights to organize, protest, and picket.